Game Anatomy

I’ve mentioned this a few times, so let’s make it somewhere easy to read.

A game anatomy is a simple, readable list of what goes into your game. It can be detailed, it can be simple. Here’s an example for a really simple game of mine, Queer Coding:

  • 1 Front-cover card (rules link on back)
  • 25 Player cards
    • 5 sets of:
      • Q card
      • U card
      • E card
      • E card
      • R card
  • 1 Back-cover card (blank back)

This gives me a simple plan for what I need to put together to make the game. Here’s another example, from Skulk:

  • 1 Top box design
  • 1 Bottom box design
  • 15 Thief tokens
    • Numbered 1-5, coloured 1-3
  • 8 Dragon tokens
  • 40 cards
  • 1 rules booklet
    • 8 pages
  • 48 gold coin tokens

You can fill these in with as much detail as you want, or as little. It’s a simple form of a plan and you can fill it out with specific card/rules text too, if you want to sort that out. Here’s an example from Dark Signs:

  • 1 Cover face card
  • 16 Grid Cards
  • 24 vanilla number cards
    • 4 1 Rune
    • 4 2 Rune
    • 4 3 Rune
    • 4 5 Rune
    • 4 7 Rune
    • 4 11 rune
  • 4 Offering – choose next dream
  • 9 Special low-impact cards
    • 3 Awakening – end nightmare now
    • 3 Restless – ditch best card
    • 3 Touch From Beyond – regrow card
  • 6 Special mid-impact cards
    • 2 Haunting Loss – cards all give 1 st
    • 2 Jealous Rage – card swap
    • 2 Final Word – double card value, withdraw
  • 3 Rares
    • 1 Omen – start weak, strong next time
    • 1 Invoke The Spider – make an egg sac of problem
    • 1 The Sign Of Un – always 13
  • 1 cover back card

So here are some examples of notes of how a card game can come together. I hope this is useful advice!

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